“While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance.” ~Hans Bos
I am not a dancer. I was kicked out jazz ballet, and I am so clumsy that I once broke the mirror in an aerobics class. I don’t dance at parties, either, because to be honest I don’t enjoy it.
But turns out, just like everyone else, I am also a dancer.
A year and a half ago I was volunteering in the Turkish mountains, and after a rather upsetting situation I had the sudden urge to go out into the forest and dance, without music, in nature, in peace and safety. It was a beautiful experience, but I forgot about it soon after leaving Turkey.
Last summer a friend of mine was passionately sharing her experiences at a dance meditation class she was taking. I’m still not sure why, but I just knew in my heart it was for me. I had to try it. I found a class, went, and completely fell in love.
Movement meditation, or dance meditation, is an experience that is nearly impossible to put into words, as it is a dance without any instructions, following the music and the rhythms.
In movement meditation class, people move their bodies as they feel like it, without judgment, just letting everything go, just being present, just being themselves.
Besides running, I have never felt so safe, free, and present in the moment as during a dance class. It became my meditation, my relaxation, and a little slice of home in my heart.
Movement meditation has given me so much—so much joy, so much passion, so many smiles, so many emotions. But most of all, dance meditation has given me so many valuable lessons to be used in my life.
1. You can be part of the crowd and still be yourself.
During movement meditation we dance alone, yet we dance together. Some people, like me, prefer to mostly remain in their own world, while others would rather connect for a while. We are all part of the same crowd, yet we respect each other’s world and remain in our own dance.
It’s just like in real life: There are so many people busy running to work, to school, to pick up the kids, to get their shopping done, and so on. We pass each other; sometimes we connect and often we don’t, but we are part of the same place.
We are all connected, occupying the same planet and connected to the same universe, yet there is room to be ourselves, to express our own creative power, and to live our own passion from our heart.
2. Every body is beautiful.
I looked rather skeletal when I entered my first dance meditation class after losing too much weight, while trying to heal from a chronic health condition through various cleanses and elimination diets.
Since then, I’ve healed my health conditions and gained the weight back. My body is different now, and I would be lying if I said the change in my body shape has always been easy, but dance meditation has helped me tremendously with this process.
Every time I dance I feel my body as something connected to and part of a beautiful bigger whole rather than as a lonely and disconnected object.
Moving among other bodies, I not only feel an amazing connection, but I also experience how beautiful we are all, in body and spirit. Leaving class, walking down the street, I remind myself to respect my body, because, just like every body, it’s beautiful.
3. It is okay to change direction.
The music is different every class, and how I feel can be different every minute. Sometimes I do one thing, but then my heart changes and so does my movement. I can even sit down if I want to.
I am a person who lives a rather alternative life by society’s standard, always following her heart wherever it leads her. Dancing reassures me that it is more than okay to change direction, stop, turn back, run forward, or jump between different roads.
Dancing reassures me that the heart knows the best; therefore, it is the best to listen to the heart. The rest will follow.
4. It’s okay to do your own thing.
Looking into a dance meditation class may be crazy to a completely oblivious outsider. There are people jumping and even screaming. While others move gracefully in their beautiful slow dance, some are rolling on the floor, and yet a few are sitting in meditative pose. Everyone does their own dance, which can look chaotic at first glance.
But as my teacher often says, there is no right or wrong; whatever and however you dance is okay, and the same truth holds for life.
It is pointless to compare ourselves to others or even to our past life or future goals because we’re all different, coming from different places. Living in the present moment is a beautiful thing, and following our own instincts is the best way to live in the moment.
5. Dance from your heart, live from your heart.
Some days when I go to class I am extremely happy and I just want to put my joy on the floor. There are days when I come with sadness, anger, or frustration, which I am able to release in movement. Whatever I feel in my heart is the thing that comes out in my dance.
I truly believe in the power and importance of authenticity. Just like in dance, living an authentic, honest life from our heart gives a tremendous amount of freedom, because it’s only in acknowledging and showing our true feelings that we’re able to work through them. To live free and happy, remember to live from your heart.
Photo by m01229